The single “Trap Again” from D Clak’s debut album The Dime Piece is the latest and greatest peak in a career simmering over the last decade. D Clak has came up the way all real, lasting talents do – not taking no for an answer, writing, recording, and performing wherever he could in the city of Pittsburgh and its surrounding environs. This is music within a tradition, realistic depictions of urban life with attitude, but D Clak isn’t your stereotypical cookie cutter rapper. His intensely musical delivery is complemented by a great backing track full of color, unexpected changes, and just the right balance between minimal instrumentation. Everything emerges clearly from a professional production job and there’s no posing in this track. D Clak’s “Trap Again” is the real deal in every respect.
The lyrics are unsparing. D Clak describes life on the Pittsburgh streets from a vivid first person point of view that’s both self aware and aware of everything around him. The insistent title has unintended positive effect. It sort of reinforces the circular nature of this life, the strong tether Clak feels to life in the same familiar neighborhoods, but it never comes off as desperate. Instead, the voice emerging from this lyric is surprisingly resilient and certainly streetwise. It gets a lot from Clak’s vocal. His voice is one of a few and certainly the most compelling instrument in the song. He rolls convincingly through some challenging wordplay and maintains a great tempo without ever stumbling or sounding anything less than confident. It’s obvious that he’s listened closely to the song as well. D Clak’s vocal is tightly locked into the song’s structure and that helps one complement the other extraordinarily well. He doesn’t dress up his style with any trickery and sings with the same straight-forward line of attack that he uses in the lyrics.
The music is largely built around strong electronic drums and a varying pulse that changes direction often and modulates in intensity. The opening is defined by that pulse alone at the opening of the song and its swelling and ebbing helps define the song musically in a big way. There’s a great lull in the track after a little past the halfway point and, when the beats return, it makes for an excellent conclusion. The song runs at just the right length – D Clak doesn’t waste any time getting to the musical or lyrical point and running just a little over three minutes gives him space to realize the song’s potential. Warmth surrounds the production and it comes over listener’s with a lot of confidence and style. “Trap Again” is a tasty hint of the riches contained within his debut album The Dime Piece. This is music from the heart and D Clak lays down the harsh facts of life with authority and skill.
by Lydia Hillenburg